A piece of fine jewelry or a classic investment watch is never just an accessory – there is always a rich history behind it. In the new series of W rock starswe look at what makes past, present and future heirlooms so unique.
At the beginning of June, shortly after the closing of the Cannes Film Festival, the seaside town continues to be overflowing with energy. As the red carpets were rolled out for next year and A-list actors decamped to their summer homes, jewelry experts and editors from around the world descended on the south of France to celebrate the unveiling of the new Perlée jewelry collection by Van Cleef & Arpels.
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Like its name, which translates to perlé in English, Perlée is distinguished by its golden spherical pearls. The pattern has long been an integral part of Van Cleef, having existed on the house’s designs in various forms since the 1920s. First used to outline patterns or draw the outlines of a stone, circular shapes were later featured in a number of important Van Cleef collections. From Couscous and Bagatelle in 1948, which consisted of pearls of various sizes, to Twist in the 1960s, a playful braided collection that combined gold with coral, turquoise and cultured pearls. In 1968, the delicate golden spheres became an essential part of the still iconic Alhambra collection.
But it was not until 2008 that the House launched Perlée. Its ordered rows of pearls are produced from precious metals – rose, white and yellow gold – using a lost wax casting technique. They are then reworked individually by hand and mixed with precious stones, mother-of-pearl and coral. The collection, having received several updates and new iterations over the years, has become a playful house favorite.
Its most recent inauguration took place at the Palais Bulles, the famous bubble-shaped residence of the late designer Pierre Cardin. With its curved circular modules, rounded pools and bespoke contemporary furnishings, it was a fitting venue that echoed the spherical collection.
The jewelry that was on display and is now available for purchase is cheerful and lively. Five new rings, inspired by a 1968 archival design, are adorned with golden pearls and embellished with vibrant ornamental stones. A duo of open cuff bracelets in yellow gold and diamonds, with coral or lapis lazuli cabochons, achieve a balance of light elegance. And for the first time since its creation in 2008, the collection also offers colored gemstones on a set of 3 sparkling rings.
Another first for Perlée is the addition of watches with delicate round faces, surrounded by rows of golden pearls that rest delicately on a charming grosgrain bracelet.
To shop and learn more about the Van Cleef & Arpels Perlée collection, visit vancleefarpels.com.